Marin Theatre Company Announces its 2016-2017, 50th Anniversary Season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 11, 2016

MARIN THEATRE COMPANY ANNOUNCES
50TH ANNIVERSARY MAINSTAGE SEASON


MTC’s 2016-2017 Mainstage Season features
six powerhouse productions of bold new plays,
including the 5-time TONY® Award and 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning
August: Osage County by Tracy Letts (Bug, Killer Joe),
Rolling World Premiere: Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley
by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon,
West Coast Premieres: Native Son by Nambi E. Kelley and Peerless by Jiehae Park,
Bay Area Premieres: Guards at the Taj by Rajiv Joseph (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) and
The Legend of Georgia McBride by MTC favorite Matthew Lopez (The Whipping Man)

MILL VALLEY, CA—Marin Theatre Company’s artistic director Jasson Minadakis and managing director Michael Barker are thrilled to announce the 50th anniversary season for the North Bay’s leading non-profit professional theatre. Featuring six sensational plays for its intimate 231-seat mainstage Boyer Theatre, the season includes:

  • TONY® Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning August: Osage County by Tracy Letts in September
  • Rolling World premiere Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon in November
  • West Coast premiere Native Son by Nambi E. Kelley in January
  • West Coast premiere Peerless by Jiehae Park in March
  • Bay Area premiere Guards at the Taj by Rajiv Joseph in April
  • Bay Area premiere The Legend of Georgia McBride by Matthew Lopez in June

In MTC’s upcoming season, all evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. Located in Mill Valley, just minutes off the highway near great restaurants (and free parking), Marin Theatre Company is the Bay Area’s destination for bold new American plays.

“I am honored to announce Marin Theatre Company's golden season line-up. We have put together a season that sets the bar for this company's next 50 years where we will nurture and create the best new American work and honors the journey our company and community have taken to arrive at this momentous anniversary. MTC began a new chapter of artistic exploration with Lee Sankowich's brilliant staging of Tracy Letts’ Killer Joe in 2006 and now we return to Letts' fertile imagination to open our 50th season with his ingenious Pulitzer and TONY®  award-winning masterpiece, August: Osage County. The season also includes new plays from three of our favorite playwrights: a West Coast premiere from Lauren Gunderson and our very own former Director of New Play Development Margot Melcon with the rolling world premiere of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, as well as the Bay Area premiere of a new hit play by Matthew Lopez, The Legend of Georgia McBride. The West Coast premieres of Richard Wright's blistering Native Son, adapted by Nambi E. Kelley, Jiehae Park's fantastic Macbeth-inspired dark comedy Peerless and the Bay Area premiere of Pulitzer finalist Rajiv Joseph's prize-winning comedy Guards at the Taj will be introducing three incredibly distinctive American voices to Marin audiences for the first time. It's a season of celebration as we honor the legacy of our past and stride boldly into the future.” – Jasson Minadakis, Artistic Director

MTC opens its 50th anniversary, 2016-17 season in September with the 5-time TONY® Award and 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning August: Osage County by Tracy Letts (Bug, Killer Joe). When alcoholic patriarch Beverly Weston goes missing, his daughters Barbara, Ivy and Karen reluctantly return home to their mother Violet—cancer stricken, drug-addled, and a bigger piece of work than ever. With in-laws, cousins, grandchildren and new beaus in tow, the entire Weston clan makes the journey to the family home, where old grievances are aired, family secrets are spilled, and cutting remarks—especially those from Violet—take deadly aim. Featuring a Bay Area cast, and back in the region for the first time since the Broadway tour in 2009, Tracy Letts’ TONY® and Pulitzer Prize-winning dark comedy is an acidic and acerbic take on juicy, family dramas.

August received its World Premiere production at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2007, and moved to the Imperial Theatre on Broadway in 2008 with all but two of the original cast members reprising their roles. In addition to winning TONY® Awards for Best Play, Best Leading Actress in a play (Deanna Dunagan), Best Featured Actress in a Play (Rondi Reed), Best Direction of a Play (Anna D. Shapiro), Best Scenic Design of a Play (Todd Rosenthal), the Broadway production additionally received numerous Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and New York Drama Critics Circle awards. The show moved to London’s National Theatre later in 2008, and began its US tour in 2009; it has not been produced in the Bay Area since the tour launched from San Francisco’s Curran Theatre that July.

Tracy Letts is an award-winning playwright and actor, and a long time member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Additional accolades include: the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play for Bug in 2004; TONY® Award for Best Lead Actor in a Play and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play for Steppenwolf’s Broadway revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf in 2013; and the Drama Desk Special Award for The Realistic Joneses and The Open House in 2014.

The season continues in November and December with a new chapter in the world of Jane Austen. The Rolling World Premiere of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley marks the return of playwrights Lauren Gunderson (I And You) and MTC’s former Director of New Play Development Margot Melcon. Having always lived life with her head in a good book, Mary Bennet’s never felt more like the odd spinster out than when she chooses to spend the Christmas holiday with her prettier and wittier sisters, both recently married. When the shy, bookworm Arthur de Bourgh turns up unexpectedly, Mary finds a kindred spirit, but since Arthur is a single man in possession of a good fortune, she’s hardly his only suitor. Now Mary must learn to be the heroine of her own story. This charming holiday romance is a continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The play will have three simultaneous stagings around the country this holiday season including Northlight Theatre in Chicago and Roundhouse Theatre in Bethesda, MD.

MTC produced the world premiere production of Lauren Gunderson’s I And You in 2013. Of this production, artistic director Jasson Minadakis touted, “We’ve admired [Lauren] for many years, and I and You is one of the most uplifting and hopeful stories we have presented on our stage.” After winning hearts with her words two seasons prior, as well as the 2014 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award for I And You, MTC is more excited than ever to bring this playwright back to its mainstage. Gunderson returns in partnership with MTC’s former Director of New Play Development Margot Melcon, who was with MTC for seven seasons as one of its pivotal artists and architects of the company’s new play development department.

In January and February, MTC continues its golden anniversary season with the West Coast premiere of Native Son by Nambi E. Kelley, based on the brilliant novel by Richard Wright. On Chicago’s South Side in the grip of the Great Depression, Bigger Thomas dares to want more out of life. Things start looking up when he lands a plum job with the well-to-do Dalton family, but their daughter Mary proves to be as alluring as she is dangerous. A fateful accident on the job sends Bigger down a violent and inescapable path. Misrepresented and underestimated by everyone around him, Bigger has no one to turn to except himself. Using W.E.B. DuBois' theory of double consciousness as a grounding point, this fresh 90-minute adaptation of Native Son focuses on the landscape inside the mind of Bigger Thomas, bringing the power of Richard Wright’s novel to life for a whole new generation. MTC is proud to bring Ms. Kelley’s heart-stopping, urgent and expressionistic adaptation of Wright’s groundbreaking novel to the West Coast, following its box office record-breaking World Premiere at Chicago’s Court Theatre in 2014.

A native of Chicago herself, Nambi E. Kelley is a nationally recognized playwright and actress. She was named a finalist for the Francesca Primus Award for her work on Native Son, and is currently the 2015-2017 playwright in residence at The National Black Theatre in NYC. Ms. Kelley will be joining MTC’s artistic team and the play’s originating director Seret Scott in 2017 for the  Marin Theatre Company production.

The West Coast premiere of Peerless by Jiehae Park follows in March. Twin sisters “M” and “L” care about two things in this world: academic ambition, and each other. When M’s supposed shoe-in slot at a prestigious university is given to someone else, the sisters begin to strategize how to secure their success by any means necessary. Egged on by a weird but seemingly-psychic classmate, the sisters take a page from a certain Scottish tragedy and decide that good old-fashioned murder might just be the extracurricular activity that will take them to the top. Jiehae Park’s dark comedy-riff on Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a savage satire on academia, teenagers and race, and made The Kilroys’ 2015 List of the best new plays by female playwrights.

Fresh off a critically acclaimed World Premiere production at Yale Repertory in the  15-16 season, MTC is excited to bring this sinister twist on the Scottish Play to the West Coast under the direction of Margot Bordelon, who also directed the play’s world premiere. After successful workshops at the Cherry Lane Mentor Project and Ojai Playwrights Conference, Peerless is continuing to grow to see enormous success. Another of her plays, Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, was also workshopped at OPC, won the Princess Grace Award, the Leah Ryan Prize, and landed on the first annual Kilroys List.

In April and May, MTC will produce the Bay Area premiere of the brutally hilarious and heartbreaking fable Guards at the Taj by Rajiv Joseph (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo). Childhood friends Humayun and Babur are imperial guards who are assigned to stand watch as the magnificent Taj Mahal is unveiled at dawn. Humayun, obedient and fearful, is careful to follow basic instructions, like not speaking. Babur, passionate and obstinate, can’t help but ask questions—loudly and audibly. Soon, they must carry out a harrowing and violent task that shakes both men to their very core. Humayun’s terror-driven loyalty to those he serves and Babur’s despairing opposition to that same regime threatens their friendship and tests their understanding of beauty.

Award-winning playwright Rajiv Joseph has been creating national waves since 2010 when he earned a Pulitzer nomination for Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, which debuted at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, CA before moving to Broadway in 2011, featuring Robin Williams in the lead role. Another of his most recognized pieces, Gruesome Playground Injuries, premiered at the Alley Theatre in Houston, TX (2009) before moving to Wooly Mammoth Theatre in Washington D.C. (2010) and then finally to Off-Broadway at the Second Stage Theatre in 2011. The North Pool premiered at TheatreWorks in Silicon Valley in 2011 and received the Glickman Award for Best Play to make its World Premiere in the Bay Area as well as the Edgerton New American Play Award. Mr. Joseph also received the Steinberg Playwright Award in 2013 and the the $150,000 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award for Guards at the Taj in 2015.

Marin Theatre Company’s 50th Season closes in June, with the triumphant return of Matthew Lopez—author of The Whipping Man—and his newest hit straight from Off-Broadway, the Bay Area premiere of The Legend of Georgia McBride. Times are tough for Elvis impersonator Casey, who performs his act for an audience of zero at a Panama City, FL dive bar. With the rent long overdue and a baby on the way, desperate Casey watches as a seasoned drag queen named Ms. Tracy Mills brings her show to town. After filling in for one of Tracy’s regular girls on short notice one night, Casey decides to trade in his sequin jumpsuit for a sequin dress, and under Miss. Tracy’s tutelage, finally achieves stardom. With The Legend of Georgia McBride, MTC joyfully and campily brings a very different side of Matthew Lopez’s repertoire to the Bay Area with this fierce, fabulous and heel-toting showbiz comedy.

Mr. Lopez’s Off-Broadway production of The Whipping Man received both Obie and Lucille Lortel awards, and additionally, Mr. Lopez received the John Gassner New Play Award from the New York Outer Critics Circle for the play. MTC produced its Bay Area Premiere in 2013, which is the second-best selling show in the company’s 50-year history. Georgia McBride premiered at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts before moving to Off-Broadway, and MTC will close its 50th season with another show-stopper from this envelope-pushing young playwright.

In MTC’s 2016-17 season, all six plays are recommended for youth aged 13 and up. For younger children and families, MTC will produce its second ever fully self-produced Family Series of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) productions.

Six-play full-season subscriptions, as well as four and six-ticket flex packages are on sale now. Subscription packages offer savings off single ticket prices, exclusive benefits and personalized customer service. Season subscriptions are available for $120-$300 and include fee-free ticket exchanges, lost ticket replacement, priority seating and other exclusive member perks. For more information about subscriptions, visit www.marintheatre.org or contact MTC’s Box Office, (415) 388-5208. Single tickets go on sale July 5, 2016.

CALENDAR

September 8 – October 2, 2016
August: Osage County | 5-time TONY® Award Winner
By Tracy Letts
Opening Night: Tuesday, September 13, at 7:30 pm

November 25 – December 18, 2016
Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley | Rolling World Premiere
By Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon
Opening Night: Tuesday, November 29, at 7:30 pm

January 19 – February 12, 2017
Native Son | West Coast Premiere
By Nambi E. Kelley
Opening Night: Tuesday, January 24, at 7:30 pm

March 9 – April 2, 2017
Peerless | West Coast Premiere
By Jiehae Park
Opening Night: Saturday, March 14, at 7:30 pm

April 27 – May 21, 2017
Guards at the Taj | Bay Area Premiere
By Rajiv Joseph
Opening Night: Tuesday, May 2, at 7:30 pm

June 8 – July 2, 2017
The Legend of Georgia McBride | West Coast Premiere
By Matthew Lopez
Opening Night: Tuesday, June 13, at 7:30 pm

All productions performed in MTC’s Boyer Theatre, located at Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley. 
Programming and scheduling are subject to change.


ABOUT MTC
Marin Theatre Company is the Bay Area’s premier mid-sized theater and the leading professional theater in the North Bay. We produce a six-show season focused on new American plays, and a four-show Family Series. We are committed to the development and production of new plays, with a comprehensive New Play Program that includes productions of world premieres, two nationally recognized annual playwriting awards and readings and workshops by the nation’s best emerging and established playwrights. Our numerous education programs serve more than 8,500 students from over 40 Bay Area schools each year.  MTC strives to create intimate, powerful and emotional experiences that engage audiences to discuss new ideas and adopt a broader point of view. We believe in taking risks and inspiring people to participate in live theater, regardless of personal means.  MTC celebrates the intellectual curiosity of our community, and we believe that theater is an important tool to help build empathy. MTC was founded in 1966 and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

PRESS CONTACT
Sara Waugh, Marketing Director
(415) 322-6022 | saraw@marintheatre.org

####